Palatine dumps Hersey
Two teams looking to make some noise next week in the IHSA playoffs tried to tune up by putting their best foot forward Tuesday night at Hersey.
But only Palatine succeeded, riding its 2-3 zone and power inside game of Julian Campbell to a 61-52 Mid-Suburban League divisional crossover win over the Huskies.
The win was particularly gratifying for the visiting Pirates (12-16), who were paced by sophomores Julian Campbell (31 points) and point guard Luke Seiffert (15). Campbell was the go-to all night, especially in the second half in the face of Hersey's turned-up defensive pressure, consistently getting layups as Palatine spread the floor and isolated the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder on the block, often against double-teams and triple-teams that were almost powerless against him.
"We kept getting him the ball," said Seiffert, who hit a crucial 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter after Hersey closed within 3 on a Matt Hanushewsky 3-pointer. Consistently in the fourth quarter, the Pirates got key hoops from Campbell, on press-breaker feeds from Tommy Swanson and Seiffert, and free throws from Seiffert.
"We were communicating with each other," on both ends of the floor, Seiffert noted.
Swanson also had a key 3-pointer in the fourth, but the Pirates took command in the third when Campbell hit two 3-pointers, one on a feed from Seiffert, and had two layins, one on a feed from Ben Storm and another on his own putback.
Big David Balanganayi gave Campbell a breather and put in two key third-quarter hoops as the Pirates shot 6-of-12 from the floor in the quarter and 2-of-3 from behind the arc while holding Hersey to 3-of-9 on the floor, daring the Huskies (14-14) to shoot long 3-pointers over their zone while yielding some inside points to Jacob Kluczewski (15 points), who used his quickness to outmaneuver Balanganayi and Campbell.
In the end, the Huskies, who have another tuneup with Glenbrook South on Friday, had no answer for Campbell. "He was great," Hersey head coach Austin Scott said, but he couldn't hide his disappointment. "I love our kids," he said, "but I wish this would've turned out differently. We just didn't do enough."
"We did what we had to do," said Pirates coach Eric Millstone, who was proud of his young, emerging team-leading sophomores. "You can see Luke [Seiffert] improving every game."
The Pirates open Class 4A regional play at Barrington on Monday against Lake Zurich. Hersey, after meeting Glenbrook South, goes to Lake Forest next Wednesday to meet Libertyville in regional play